Verkor's battery gigafactory in France to be operational by 2025
French battery firm Verkor laid the foundation stone of its battery gigafactory in Dunkirk, France last month. Aimed at mass production of low-carbon, high-performance batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage applications, the facility with an initial annual capacity of 16GWh is expected to be operational in 2025.
Located in the Port of Dunkirk, the battery plant will contribute to the creation of approximately 1200 jobs and 3000 indirect jobs. The ground-breaking of the gigafactory signifies Verkor's determination to advance a local, resilient and sustainable battery value chain in the European region, the company claimed.
"Dunkirk was not chosen by chance. We can feel the creative energy of all the players involved in this project, inspiring us, and pushing us forward", said Benoit Lemaignan, CEO of Verkor, at the ground-breaking ceremony.
"Today marks a decisive step for Verkor, of course, but also for the European energy transition and the reindustrialisation of France. Providing thousands of jobs in France, the Verkor site will supply much more than just low-carbon batteries. The laying of this foundation stone is a concrete expression of our determination to accelerate the decarbonization of transport by building a resilient and sustainable European battery value chain", he added.
Last September, Verkor secured €2 billion in funding through a series-C of €850 million and banking support for the project of up to €600 million from the European Investment Bank, along with national subsidies of approximately €650 million approved by the European Commission in the context of the state aid framework for research and development and innovation (RDI framework).
The Hauts-de-France Region and the Urban Community of Dunkirk are also financing €60 million and €30 million for the gigafactory respectively. "In addition to the 60 million euro investment to build the plant, the region is also investing in training. 80 million for 2023 alone, with an original program called Electro'Mob that will enable us to meet this challenge", said Xavier Bertrand, President of the Hauts-de-France region.
Commenting on the project, Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, said: "EIB is fully committed to the promotion of an autonomous, strategic and competitive Europe".
"After the recent financing of several other electric battery projects like Northvolt's pioneer Gigafactory in Sweden, and the support of Verkor in the financing of its innovation centre in Grenoble, the EIB is proud to contribute to the construction of this new site of a budding, transformative automotive sector in the Hauts-de-France region", he added.
Verkor is backed by prominent shareholders such as EIT InnoEnergy, Groupe IDEC, Schneider Electric, Capgemini, Renault Group, EQT Ventures, Arkema, Tokai COBEX, Demeter FMET, Plastic Omnium and Sibanye-Stillwater.
In pursuit of large-scale industrialization of batteries in Europe and roll out intelligent and sustainable manufacturing processes, Verkor has claimed that its batteries made in France will have a carbon footprint four to five times smaller than those manufactured in China.